Well, it wasn’t exactly like growing up in a football team, but it felt close to it at times.

I grew up in what seemed like a sea of brothers and sisters who, as they got older, decided they too needed to add to the Shield family tree in even greater numbers.

It seems like I have been surrounded by children all my life.

So, before we get started I think it is important to state that I love children -¦ but I prefer to be able to give them back.

As the old saying goes, a little goes a long way and for me that rules applies to children.

Geesh, owning a dog and a cat is more than enough at times, without having to add the need for nappies, clothes and God knows how many other accessories to the list.

So to all of you parents out there, well done and congratulations. I salute your ability to keep the world’s genetic pool swirling.

So, let’s get to the point, shall we? I was delighted to be asked by the City of Sydney to be a part of the National Simultaneous Storytime at Newtown Library last week.

I, like thousands of others around the world, read the story of a little brown dog at a pet shop to a huddle of eager little blank canvases.

My brief was simple: turn up in something toned down and fabulous at 11am and read the book to a group of children aged between three and seven years. Easy -¦ right?

Tone down outfits? Out of bed and over to Newtown by 11am? Children? Lots of them? My mind was in a spin.

Nonetheless I pulled myself together and slipped into a little Southern Belle ball gown hoping to impress my little urchins with the gorgeous swishing sound the frock makes.

Before I knew it I was perched on a micro seat with 10 pairs of little eyes transfixed on my sparkles, eagerly absorbing the story of Arthur the Dog.

They were quietly captivated, interjecting only to ask the odd story-related question about pets and pet care.

Then it was on to the colouring-in table where crayons and paper joined to form stunning pieces of artwork.

Only one little tot asked a question about the curious man in a dress and full face of make-up reading to the class -“ but with such a sense of innocence and awe I almost melted on the spot.

It was an amazing experience and I was moved by how nonjudgmental these children were. Many have said that to get the answers, we should ask the children, and maybe it’s exactly what we have to do.

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